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At a Glance
NCAA Champion--California (25-4; coached by Pete Newell/fifth of six seasons with Bears; won PCC title with a 14-2 record, which was three games ahead of Washington).
NIT Champion--St. John's (20-6; coached by Joe Lapchick/14th of 20 seasons with Redmen).
New Conference--Middle Atlantic (disbanded in 1975 when ECC is formed).
NCAA Probation--Auburn, Memphis State, North Carolina State, Seattle, Southern California, UCLA.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Bob Boozer, F, Sr., Kansas State (25.6 ppg, 11.3 rpg); Johnny Cox, F, Sr., Kentucky (18 ppg, 12.2 rpg); Bailey Howell, F-C, Sr., Mississippi State (27.5 ppg, 15.2 rpg); Oscar Robertson, F, Jr., Cincinnati (32.6 ppg, 16.3 rpg, 6.9 apg, 50.9 FG%); Jerry West, F, Jr., West Virginia (26.6 ppg, 12.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 51.8 FG%).
National Player of the Year--Robertson (UPI/USBWA).
National Coach of the Year--Eddie Hickey, Marquette (23-6/USBWA).

Cincinnati's Oscar Robertson became the first player to lead the nation's scorers in both his sophomore and junior seasons. Robertson's brilliance wasn't enough to prevent the Bearcats from losing against California (64-58) in the national semifinals when he was held to one point in the second half. Guard Mike Mendenhall, the team's co-captain and third-leading scorer (13.5-point average) as one of the nation's top 15 field-goal shooters (51.3 percent), was declared ineligible for the playoffs by the NCAA because he played briefly in the 1955-56 season before missing the remainder of the year nursing a kidney ailment.

Mississippi State, coached by Babe McCarthy, won its first SEC title with a 13-1 record and finished 24-1 overall, but was forced to bypass the NCAA Tournament because of the opposition of several state officials to inter-racial games. McCarthy, a former World War II transport pilot, was working for an oil company in Clarksdale, Miss., when he was put in charge of the school's roundball fortunes in 1955-56 before becoming MSU's most celebrated coach in history. One of his players was Kermit Davis, who went on to coach his alma mater for seven seasons in the 1970s. . . . Mississippi State's Bailey Howell set a school single-game scoring record with 47 points against Union.

The season's highest single-game output was 50 points by Air Force's Bob Beckel (school record vs. Arizona) and Rhode Island's Tom Harrington (Brandeis/school record was later tied). Tennessee Tech's Jimmy Hagan established a school mark with 48 points against East Tennessee State (later tied). . . . Beckel, the highest ranking cadet at the Academy (Wing Commander), went on to become a three-star general (Lt. General). . . . Marshall's Leo Byrd (29.3 ppg) and Kansas State's Bob Boozer (25.6) set school records for highest scoring average in a single season.

Virginia Tech's Chris Smith (36 vs. Washington & Lee), Ohio University's Dave Scott (34 vs. Marietta), Tennessee Tech's Hagan (30 vs. Morehead State) and Princeton's Carl Belz (29 vs. Rutgers) established school single-game rebounding standards.

Oklahoma State senior Arlen Clark set an NCAA record for most successful free throws in a game without a miss when he sank all 24 of his foul shots in a 42-point outburst against Colorado on his way to leading the nation in free-throw accuracy (see accompanying box). Clark, 6-8, is one of the best free-throw shooting big men in NCAA history, hitting 84.9 percent of his charity tosses. . . . Kansas, minus All-America center Wilt Chamberlain after he bypassed his senior year of eligibility to join the Harlem Globetrotters, lost seven consecutive games in December. . . . Texas A&M (15-9 under coach Bob Rogers) compiled a winning record for the first time in eight years.

Virginia nipped North Carolina, 69-68, for the Cavaliers' lone victory over the Tar Heels in a 19-game stretch of their series from 1956 to 1964. In Carolina's previous contest, the Heels were ranked No. 1 when they were mauled at Maryland, 69-51, although the Terrapins finished with a 10-13 record. . . . North Carolina State coach Everett Case, compiling a 320-81 record through 13 seasons, had more victories than any coach in history from his second year through his 13th. Wolfpack All-Americans Lou Pucillo and John Richter were from Philadelphia. They started a trend where six different ACC schools had a first-team All-American from Pennsylvania in a 15-year span through 1973. . . . West Virginia (29-5/coached by Fred Schaus) went unbeaten in Southern Conference competition for the third consecutive year en route to its winningest season in school history. Dartmouth (22-6/Doggie Julian) tied its school record for most victories in a single season. . . . Including the previous campaign with K-State, coach Tex Winter won 11 consecutive contests decided by fewer than five points.

A 22-3 Marquette squad that eventually reached the Mideast Regional final held the ball for the first 11 minutes of a game at Notre Dame. Tom Hawkins scored 18 of his game-high 19 points in the second half to carry the Irish to a 51-35 victory and conclude the campaign with a 12-13 record. The Warriors finished the season with a 23-6 worksheet in their first year with Eddie Hickey as head coach. After Hickey guided St. Louis to a 24-3 mark in his first season in 1947-48, the Billikens finished in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll seven times in the next nine years. . . . St. Louis, in its first season under coach John Benington, defeated NCAA champion-to-be California, 55-43, and NIT champion-to-be St. John's, 72-63. . . . Jim McDonald, a two-year captain for Bowling Green, went on to become Kent State's all-time winningest coach.

Auburn, the only school to rank among the top 35 in both offense and defense, dealt Mississippi State its lone defeat (97-66). The Tigers won their first 19 games under coach Joel Eaves before bowing at Kentucky (75-56) and Tennessee (56-55). Auburn's loss to UK snapped the Tigers' school-record 30-game winning streak. The Tigers finished in the Top 10 of a final wire-service poll for the only time until 1999. . . . Forward Johnny Cox was Kentucky's only All-SEC AP first-team selection in a four-year span from 1956-57 through 1959-60. . . . Vanderbilt and visiting Baylor played the season finale using experimental rules such as the 24-second shot clock. Vanderbilt trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half, but Doug Yates' jumper from the top of the circle gave the Commodores a 61-60 triumph. "Frankly, I doubt we would have won the game had we been playing under existing rules," Vandy coach Roy Skinner said. . . . Hugh Durham, one of the nation's top 20 point producers with 21.9 points per game, led Florida State in scoring for the second time in three seasons. He would later coach his alma mater, Georgia and Jacksonville. . . . Two-time All-SEC second-team guard Buddy Blemker led Georgia Tech in scoring for the third straight year before pitching with the Kansas City Athletics in 1960.

For the first time, Providence fans were able to follow their favorites on radio and the Friars made the most of the road opportunity, defeating nationally-ranked Villanova in four overtimes, 90-83, behind Johnny Egan's 39 points. The signature victory propelled PC to its first-ever NIT invitation. The Friars appeared in the NIT five consecutive years, reaching the semifinals on four occasions. . . . Villanova's George Raveling, who would go on to become one of the nation's most visible coaches (Washington State, Iowa and Southern California), ranked among the top 25 players in the country in field-goal shooting (50.6 percent) and rebounding (15.5 per game). "There is no glory in rebounding--just victory," Raveling said. . . . Temple suffered its worst winning percentage in history (6-19, .240) just one year after winning 25 consecutive games en route to the Final Four. . . . Boston University lost 25 of its first 26 games against Holy Cross in their series until the visiting Terriers prevailed, 74-57. . . . Sophomore George Blaney, who led Holy Cross in field-goal percentage while averaging 13.7 points per game, eventually became his alma mater's all-time winningest coach before directing Seton Hall for three seasons in the mid-1990s. . . . Washington & Lee's final season at the Division I level was marred by a 105-24 defeat against Virginia Tech. . . . American, after losing the first 19 games in its series with Georgetown, whipped the Hoyas, 92-67. . . . Dick Bavetta, who would go on to become a prominent NBA referee, was a member of a St. Francis (N.Y.) squad that compiled an anemic 5-18 record. . . . Senior Jack Leaman, Boston University's MVP, coached Julius Erving at Massachusetts en route to becoming the Minutemen's all-time winningest mentor. . . . Manhattan, coached by Kenneth Norton, participated in national postseason tournament competition for the seventh straight year.

Eastern Kentucky, coached by Paul McBrayer, won the Ohio Valley Conference crown after finishing in last place the previous year. . . . Tennessee Tech and St. Mary's made their lone appearance in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll. Tech was only in its fourth season competing at the major-college level. . . Northwestern, coached by William Rohr, wound up in a tie for second place in the Big Ten standings with an 8-6 league record. That represents the Wildcats' highest finish since 1934. . . . Forward M.C. Burton became Michigan's only All-Big Ten first-team selection in the 1950s.

Washington won at Iowa, 81-68, to shatter the Hawkeyes' 77-game homecourt winning streak against non-conference opponents. . . . Pacific's Leroy Wright set a West Coast Athletic Conference record by averaging 25 rebounds per game. . . . Idaho, in coach Harlan Hodges' fifth and final season with the Vandals, defeated first-division teams Stanford and UCLA while competing in their last season as a member of the Pacific Coast Conference. Idaho departed with a total of only one fewer all-league selections (39) than UCLA. The Southern Division, where UCLA resided, didn't have second-team picks for four consecutive years from 1947-48 through 1950-51. . . . USC's John Werhas, an All-PCC first-team selection, eventually was a third baseman for both L.A. major league franchises in lthe mid-1960s. . . . Denny Crum, a starting guard for UCLA, went on to become a Hall of Famer who is Louisville's all-time winningest coach. Teammate Rafer Johnson led the Bruins in field-goal shooting (50.7%) before winning an Olympic gold medal in the decathlon the next year. . . . Arizona State lost more than 10 games in 13 consecutive seasons until stopping the hemorrhaging by compiling a 17-9 mark in Ned Wulk's second year as the Sun Devils' head coach. . . . Arizona (4-22 mark) lost a school-record 16 consecutive games in coach Fred Enke's 34th season with the Wildcats. Seven of their setbacks during the campaign were by margins of at least 25 points--Air Force (53), California (44), Santa Clara (41), Idaho State (28), Northern Arizona (28), Utah State (26) and Texas Western (25). . . . Seattle finished among the Top 20 in a final AP poll for the sixth time in eight seasons. . . . Idaho State sustained its lone Rocky Mountain Conference setback in the last four years of the league from 1957 through 1960. . . . . Bob Kelly, who averaged 2.5 ppg and 1.3 rpg for New Mexico State, went on to play tackle for four seasons with the Houston Oilers.

Harold "Bud" Foster stepped down after 25 seasons as Wisconsin's coach on a negative note with a 3-19 record. He was 44 games under .500 in his last four years to become the only major-college coach to stay at a school for that length of time yet finish with a losing career record (265-267) with the institution. On the plus side, Foster finished with a flashy career mark of 20-7 in one-point decisions.

1959 NCAA Tournament
Summary: Two-time first-team All-American swingman Jerry West was denied an NCAA championship ring when California junior center Darrall Imhoff, West's teammate with the Los Angeles Lakers for four seasons in the mid-1960s, tipped in his own missed shot from point blank range with 17 seconds remaining to help give Cal a 71-70 victory over West Virginia in the NCAA final. The Golden Bears overcame a 10-point first-half deficit before nearly blowing a 13-point second-half cushion. "For us, that was like stopping him cold," Cal coach Pete Newell said after West scored 28 points in the title game. West went on to become one of the greatest players in NBA history. "You can't get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good," West said.
Outcome for Defending Champion: Second-ranked Kentucky (24-3) hit less than one-third of its field-goal attempts in blowing a 15-point lead and absorbing a 76-61 setback against Louisville (19-12) in the Mideast Regional semifinals. The Wildcats' other two defeats were by a minimum of eight points at Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. Kentucky clobbered Marquette, 98-69, in the Mideast consolation game to become the first school to win at least one game in five consecutive NCAA Tournaments.
Star Gazing: West Virginia's West collected a total of 66 points and 26 rebounds in the national semifinals and final. In the East Regional semifinals, the Mountaineers trailed St. Joseph's by 18 points (67-49) with 13 minutes remaining before West scored 21 points in a nine-minute span for a 95-92 triumph. . . . Imhoff's high school coach was Bob Boyd, who went on to coach Southern California and Mississippi State. . . . Dartmouth backup guard Dave Gavitt, participating in the playoffs for the second straight season, went on to coach his alma mater before directing Providence to the 1973 Final Four. He spearheaded the formation of the Big East Conference and was its first commissioner.
Biggest Upset: Kansas State, an 85-75 loser against Cincinnati in the Midwest Regional final, is one of only two teams ranked No. 1 by both AP and UPI entering the tourney to lose by a double-digit margin before the Final Four. The Wildcats' setback ended a school-record 21-game winning streak.
One and Only: Pete Newell became the only U.S. Olympic basketball coach to win the NCAA and NIT titles with different schools. Newell was the 1960 U.S. Olympic basketball coach after capturing national titles with San Francisco (NIT in 1949) and California.
Celebrity Status: LaRoy Doss, an All-WCAC first-team forward for St. Mary's initial NCAA playoff team, became chairman and president of the Ford Lincoln Mercury Minority Dealers Association and was named one of the top 100 U.S. black businessmen by Black Enterprise magazine in 1978. Doss, the first African American to serve on his alma mater's Board of Trustees, scored a team-high 21 points in an 80-71 victory over Idaho State before the Gaels lost in the West Regional final against eventual NCAA champion Cal, 66-46. . . . New Mexico State's Joe Kelly, an 11th-round NFL draft selection as a back by the Los Angeles Rams later in the year, scored 13 points in a 62-61 opening-round loss against Idaho State. His son, Joe Jr., a first-round draft choice in 1986 by the Cincinnati Bengals as a linebacker from Washington (11th pick overall), played 11 NFL seasons with six different teams.
Numbers Game: North Carolina, which won 17 of its first 18 games, lost to Navy, 76-63, in the Tar Heels' only NCAA playoff contest in a nine-year span from 1958 through 1966. The victory improved Navy's record against Carolina to 14-5 since 1919-20, including six triumphs for the Midshipmen in their last seven meetings. . . . Cincinnati's Oscar Robertson scored a tourney-high 39 points in a 98-85 victory over Louisville in the national third-place game. . . . TCU's H.E. Kirchner grabbed a tourney-high 24 rebounds in a 71-65 victory over DePaul in the Midwest Regional third-place game. . . . Michigan State's Johnny Green hauled down 23 rebounds in an 88-81 defeat to Louisville in the Mideast Regional final. Green finished his career with an NCAA Tournament-record rebounding average of 19.7 per game in six playoff contests. . . . St. Mary's, coached by James Weaver, made its lone NCAA playoff appearance in the first 50 years of the event.
What Might Have Been: ACC regular-season co-champion and tournament kingpin North Carolina State, which defeated Final Four teams Louisville and Cincinnati, was ineligible for the tourney because of NCAA probation. A 26-6 run in the last 10 minutes propelled the Wolfpack to victory over rival North Carolina in the ACC Tournament final.
Putting Things in Perspective: Oregon, which compiled a 3-13 record in the PCC and 9-16 overall, defeated California, 59-57. . . . Louisville reached the national semifinals despite going 2-9 on the road and losing its season opener to Georgetown (Ky.) College, 84-78.
NCAA Champion Defeats: Kansas State (3-point margin), at St. Louis (12), at Oregon (2), and at Stanford (3).
Scoring Leader: Jerry West, West Virginia (160 points, 32 ppg).
Rebounding Leader: Jerry West, Virginia (73 rebounds, 14.6 rpg).
Highest Rebounding Average: H.E. Kirchner, TCU (42 rebounds, 21 rpg).

All-Tournament Team
Denny Fitzpatrick, G, Sr., California (24 points in final two games)
Don Goldstein, F, Sr., Louisville (42 points, 17 rebounds)
Darrall Imhoff, C, Jr., California (32 points, 25 rebounds)
Oscar Robertson, F, Jr., Cincinnati (58 points, 36 rebounds, 19 assists)
*Jerry West, F, Jr., West Virginia (66 points, 26 rebounds)
*Named Most Outstanding Player.

Championship Team Results
Regional Semifinals: California 71 (Buch team-high 15 points), Utah 53 (Chestang/Crisler/Pollard 9)
Regional Final: California 66 (Fitzpatrick 21), St. Mary's 46 (Barry/Doss 14)
National Semifinal: California 64 (Imhoff 22), Cincinnati 58 (Robertson 19)
Championship Game: California 71 (Fitzpatrick 20), West Virginia 70 (West 28)